San Jose, Costa Rica

Population  Population: 351.958

Land Area  Land Area: 44,62 km²

Languages  Languages: Spanish

Currency   Currency: Costa Rica Colon


Map LocationSan Jose, Costa Rica’s capital city, is located in the country’s central valley region and has a population of approximately 300,000 people. It is well-known for its extensive history, cultural attractions, and breathtaking natural beauty. The National Theater of Costa Rica, the Jade Museum, and the Central Market are among the most popular tourist attractions in San Jose. Visitors can also enjoy hiking, bird-watching, and other outdoor activities in the city’s parks and green spaces, such as La Sabana Metropolitan Park and Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo.


Why You Should Come

By volunteering in San Jose, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in Costa Rican culture, interact with locals, and learn about the country’s history, traditions, and way of life. You will quickly realize why Costa Rica is generally considered to be a middle-income country. Poverty remains a significant issue in the country, including in San Jose. Besides the natural attractions, 1.1 million people currently live in poverty in Costa Rica. Around 20 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line earning less than $155 per month. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the economy, including the tourism industry, which has affected many individuals and families who rely on it for their livelihoods. Nowadays, many people work in the informal economy, which can make it difficult to access social services and benefits. Costa Rica’s tropical weather and lush scenery attract many tourists. However, that same equatorial climate also brings still water and multiple mosquito-borne illnesses, which can cause many health issues for the local residents. 

How You Can Help

MEDLIFE addresses some of the most pressing issues in these communities through Mobile Clinics, patient follow-up, and community development projects. But our work would not be possible without motivated individuals like you choosing to volunteer in Service Learning Trips (SLT).


Additional Travel opportunities

A trip to Peru would be incomplete without witnessing Machu Picchu, and you can’t visit Ecuador without experiencing the majestic Galapagos Islands. With optional tourism extensions offered by our partner travel company, Good Life Expeditions, you can explore more of your SLT destination while continuing to support MEDLIFE partner communities and traveling sustainably.

Click here to view extension options

Hear it From MEDLIFErs

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Reya Seby
Western University

This trip motivated me more to pursue a career in the healthcare field so that I can use my resources to help those who need it the most, similar to MEDLIFE’s mission.

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Victoria DiCanio
University of Connecticut

It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make. It was such an amazing experience.

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Anita Woo
University of Toronto

I enjoyed the mobile clinics the most, especially the dental and triage portions. I would definitely recommend a MEDLIFE trip, it was a great experience.

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David Saff
Maclay High School

The most enjoyable part of my trip was hanging out with the amazing group of kids I was with. I would highly recommend a MEDLIFE volunteer trip to others.

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Sydney Sansone
Nova Southeastern University

This trip made everything that I was learning in my public health courses come to life and immersed me in a new culture while also learning about medicine.

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Abygail Youmans
College of Charleston

Being involved with MEDLIFE is not like joining another club - its bigger than that. It is about joining a movement that seeks to help change people’s quality of life for forever.

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Emi Hofmann
University of Central Florida

Not only was I able to participate in a week long Mobile Clinic, shadowing doctors of all types of specialties including pharmacy, dentistry, gynecology, and more, but I was also able to learn about the culture and visit incredible places.

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Julian Takagi-Stewart
University of Toronto

One thing that I really loved about this trip was that MEDLIFE made sure that the volunteers got an understanding of the complexity of issues that lead to underprivileged people in communities outside of the main city

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Hannah Van Hofwegen
University of Ottawa

Whether it was basketball with the local kids, assisting the doctors, talking with families, building washrooms, holding babies, or spending time with the people who were on the SLT with me, this was an amazing opportunity that I would do over and over again.

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Isabelle Holt
Cornell University

I loved learning about the patients MEDLIFE has followed and how they offer real help to people with chronic/urgent conditions. It is amazing how the organization formed real connections with the communities.

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Valerie Lindeborg

Our family had the privilege of participating in multiple trips with Nick [founder] and his amazing staff. Their expertise made the trips unforgettable while instilling in my boys the fundamentals of good character: selflessness, compassion, and empathy.

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Harry Vildibill
University of Georgia

As an aspiring physician, MEDLIFE motivated me to further continue my goal of becoming a doctor. In fact, I enjoyed the Tanzania Service Learning Trip so much that I decided to go on another trip to Cusco, Peru.